Sing the Songs

Singing at a Lectureship

When we worship, I don’t care if you sound like a cat stuffed with gravel going through the garbage disposal, you still need to sing. Eric likes to remind us that singing isn’t just for singers, it’s for believers.

James says that if we’re joyful, we should sing songs of praise (James 5:13). When Paul and Silas were in a Philippian dungeon at midnight, they sang through their suffering (Acts 16:25). Before he left the Last Supper to meet his betrayer, Jesus and the disciples took time to sing a hymn (Matthew 26:30).

I don’t love every song we sing. That’s not the point. There are some songs I know better than others. That’s also not the point. We sing as a “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15) to “teach” and “admonish” one another (Colossians 3:16). So, it’s important to do the best we can, to join in, and to participate for our own sake and for others.

When I sing “Jesus Loves Me,” I remember a heart-breaking funeral for my neighbor’s child who died of SIDS. “I Am Bound for the Land of Canaan,” takes me back to my grandparents’ RV in the hills of east Tennessee. (Whenever we went to Arby’s, my grandmother would sing, “I am bound for the land of Arby’s” instead!) When I sing “I Love You, Lord,” I remember standing in the cold water of the baptistery at Camp Leatherwood after I was baptized and singing those words. “Freely, Freely” takes me back to a mission trip with Leslie in New Zealand. “Heavenly Sunlight” reminds me of how much Rilla Walp liked that song.  “Lord, Be There” brought me comfort when I was lonely and afraid. “This World Is Not My Home” reminds me of when I first tried out at Burns.

I could keep going, but I’m out of room. If you’ve been in the church a long time, you could make your own list. My point is that these songs stick with us. So give yourself and the church a powerful gift by singing them with us.